For the first time in his NBA career, Eric Paschall shot worse than 50 percent (six of 15) from the field in the Warriors' 129-112 loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.
It prevented Golden State's rookie from reaching the 20-point plateau for a third straight game -- he scored 19 -- but he still managed to have a quality all-around performance, complete with six rebounds and three assists.
Former Warriors big man Zaza Pachulia spent 18 years in the NBA, and he had high praise for the Dubs' second-round draft pick Wednesday.
"I would say he's one of the most mature rookies I've seen, to be honest," Pachulia said of Paschall on Warriors Postgame Live.
Paschall has been the main bright spot in an otherwise depressing Warriors' season to date, as the No. 41 overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft has gone from relative unknown to Golden State's top offensive option in the wake of injuries to several traditional starters.
"I give him credit," Pachulia continued, "but at the same time, understand that the better he plays, the more focus is going to be on him. He's going to face different challenges from game to game, and that's how it goes ... It's great for him to be dealing with this in his rookie year."
Back in 2007, Pachulia was entering his fifth NBA season and third as a member of the Hawks, and Atlanta had just used the No. 3 overall draft pick on a big man who had spent three years at a top collegiate program and won an NCAA championship.
When asked if Paschall reminds him of anyone from his playing career, Pachulia came up with a lofty comparison.
"He's unique," Pachulia described Paschall. "Definitely, he's unique. Probably a bit of Al Horford, I would say. When Al came into the league, winning two championships with the Florida Gators, he had that -- he had that maturity.
"He was well-spoken off the court, on the court. He was a winner. He was doing the right things, he was playing the right way. He was a beast down there, as well. Different positions, but bringing the personality into it, what I see in Paschall basically reminds me of Al."
Safe to say, if Paschall reaches the same heights that Horford has, the Warriors will be even more elated at the Villanova product falling into their laps than they already are. Like Horford, Pachulia believes Paschall has the mindset to capitalize on his vast potential.
"He's mature for a rookie, but he's going to get even better," Pachulia predicted. "He's going to learn more and he's going to gain more experience and he's going to improve his game. His maturity is only going to help speed up his growth."
The Warriors have an abundance of youth and a dearth of talent. But with a mature rookie like Paschall, both of those areas aren't as bad as once feared.